Reflection on the Transition to Community-Driven Development for MAP Protocol
MAP Protocol is an open-source infrastructure, and the pioneers of open-source infrastructure are Linux and Apache. Both of them were predominantly driven by contributions from the community developers and could only offer two dimensions of incentives: self-achievement and community achievement, lacking in wealth-related incentives. However, Ethereum marked a significant shift by introducing a token model into open-source software infrastructure and incentivizing contributions from developers, validators, and community members through tokens. Apart from Ethereum’s technological innovations, this token model became a core factor in its successful development.
Subsequent infrastructure projects, on the other hand, primarily revolved around official teams. In simple terms, they developed infrastructure and ecosystems through a corporate structure, which often resulted in short project lifecycles. The relationship between core teams and developers or the community was more transactional rather than a collaborative development partnership. One can easily observe this difference by comparing the official websites of Ethereum, Apache, and Linux, where Ethereum’s website is more like a community-contributed wiki, while other infrastructure projects tend to be more like brand showcase pages, akin to Web 1.0 websites. However, the true driving force lies behind these appearances.
Let’s analyze successful community building in some infrastructure projects:
Ethereum: It succeeded by attracting the most innovative smart contract developers, along with other crucial contributors like designers and translators. They achieved this by using methods such as translation, wiki-style website contributions, and organizing various hackathons through the community or the foundation. These initiatives allowed talented engineers with unique ideas to surface, and then Ethereum Foundation incubated and supported them. Projects like Uniswap and ENS emerged from such efforts.
Solana: It stands out as one of the best-developed ecosystems among public chains. Solana’s success can be attributed to its incubator program, which directly or indirectly pays hundreds of engineers to work on various projects, often contributing to 3-5 projects simultaneously. This approach has attracted thousands of external developers into the Solana community. They also host hackathons worldwide to recruit incubator developers and attract developers to deploy applications on Solana without direct contact with the official team.
Polygon: It has excelled in seizing opportunities and conducting suitable community activities. For instance, during bullish markets, they offered grants that gave an impression of a rich ecosystem, attracting investors to buy their tokens. Hundreds of grants naturally led to real development, bringing in a significant number of genuine developers. To stabilize the ecosystem, Polygon started hiring a large number of senior business development personnel and expanded collaborations with traditional industries and large projects. They played the rhythm well.
It is fair to say that Ethereum has established itself as a pioneer in single-chain technological innovation, making it challenging for subsequent public chains to continuously innovate like Ethereum. However, MAP Protocol is a full-chain project, representing an entirely new track where smart contract developers can come up with a new set of ideas, such as a full-chain payment protocol (Butter), full-chain DeFi protocols (Bithop), and a full-chain token issuance tool (MRC20).
Now, let’s compare the user communities of Ethereum, Solana, and Polygon:
Ethereum’s user community, including both developers and holders, has a lower preference for speculative trading and a higher inclination towards contributions. Many developers are driven by innovation, resulting in fewer get-rich-quick motivations from copying others’ work. In contrast, Solana and Polygon have strong trading communities, with a limited focus on non-developer contributions. However, their developer communities show less originality, with few unique projects, while non-developer users have a strong tendency towards speculative trading.
This brings about an interesting phenomenon where Ethereum’s developers and holders have less profit-driven behavior and tend to earn and sustain wealth in the long run. This aligns with the concept from the Tao Te Ching: “The one who relies on self does not want fame; The one who achieves on his own does not resort to force.”
In the context of community building, we can examine the models of Apache and Linux, which are non-token open-source communities with members mainly comprising technical developers, not targeting ordinary users. Since these are non-token projects, both technical developers and contributors do not have any expectations of financial gain. Their motivation comes from self-satisfaction and community recognition. By introducing token issuance, Ethereum addressed the three main needs of contributors: material gains, inner self-satisfaction, and external recognition.
Regarding developer community building, Apache and Linux’s key success factor lies in their incubator programs. The projects come from various sources, but there is a progressive vetting process: 1. Developers can submit project ideas online through the official website. 2. Good projects are identified through offline technical forums (such as hackathons and showcases). 3. Selected projects receive comprehensive support through mentorship programs. The MAP Protocol’s mentorship program can be executed through venture capital firms, developer tools providers, etc., who are interested in discovering new projects, benefiting from potential business opportunities, satisfying their mentoring desires, and gaining external reputation. These mentors can help with various aspects, such as web2 login integration, investment, liquidity provision, and fundamental technical advice. Successful projects gain exposure and support through the mentorship program and are showcased on MAP Protocol’s wiki-style official website. Projects not chosen for incubation can also be presented on the website since their exclusion does not necessarily indicate inferiority. The official website can also serve as a platform for developers to share their needs, such as recruiting partners, seeking resources, or even crowdfunding from the community.
In summary, MAP Protocol should develop an open wiki-style official website catering to two main groups: developers (defined as pioneers in the industry’s innovation) and non-developers. For non-developers, various initiatives like translation, offline hackathons, video production, design, etc., should encourage participation and provide intrinsic self-satisfaction and recognition from the community. Contributors with tangible outputs can receive MAP token incentives (material rewards) and community recognition (showcased on the official website). Non-developers should also be educated on how to stake and secure the mainnet and how to obtain MAP tokens for use in various ecosystem projects. For developers, they can submit their projects online, participate in community-organized hackathons (online or offline), enter the incubator program, receive support, and showcase their work on the wiki-style MAP official website. Developers can also benefit from mentorship support, where experts can provide assistance with web2 login integration, investments, liquidity provision, technical consultation, etc. Successful projects may have opportunities for further incubation, which can involve funding daily expenses, additional venture capital investments, and renegotiation of partnership equity ratios, among other possibilities.
Transparency of data is crucial for community development. Therefore, all statistics, including the number of hackathon events, hackathon participants, translator participation, code contributions, and project statistics, should be presented transparently to build trust within the community.
In conclusion, community-driven development is an essential approach for the sustainable growth of open-source infrastructure projects. By attracting more developers and contributors, establishing a thriving community ecosystem, and addressing the needs for self-achievement, material rewards, and community recognition, projects like MAP Protocol can achieve continuous innovation and success in the realm of full-chain projects.